Published: Dec 29, 2011 11:29 PM EST

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) - A lawyer says the public and the criminal justice system have been too quick to judge a western Missouri couple whose baby lost several fingers to a pet ferret.
    
Ryan and Carrie Waldo, of Grain Valley, have pleaded not guilty to first-degree child endangerment. They're accused of leaving their 4-month-old daughter unsupervised last Jan. 10 when the ferret chewed off seven of her fingers.
    
KCTV reports (http://bit.ly/uccKH9 ) the couple attended a hearing Thursday in Jackson County Circuit Court, where a judge ordered a public defender for Carrie Waldo. Her husband is being represented by Dan Miller, who said he has never seen defendants treated "so roughly by a system" before trial.
    
Miller also says the couple merely bought a ferret as a Christmas present for their child and could not have foreseen what happened.
    
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Information from: KCTV-TV, http://www.kctv5.com

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